3rd June, 2012

Shri B Raman
Additional Secretary (retd),
Cabinet Secretariat,
Govt. of India, New Delhi

Subject: Eat the Proverbial Mango

Shri B Raman,

Before I jump into the subject of my letter, I want to wish you a speedyrecovery from the health issue you are dealing with.

A few days ago you tweeted something very intriguing. I am reproducing the four part tweet for your recollection:

1.NaMo had a large number of supporters in community of retired senior officers, including me.

2.Some of us have started dissociating ourselves from him after seeing the obnoxious way his Stormtroopers behave.

3.Last week in Delhi I met a highly distinguished ex civil servant who like me was a NaMo supporter, but is now showing.

4.second thoughts.I asked him why. He replied:” NaMo & his backers R bringing a bad name to Hindu religion. Am a proud Hindu.”FINI”

From your tweet it appears that Narendra Modi had a lot of admirers amongst retired senior officers. I am sure this admiration is not due to Hindutva leanings. Even if it is, retired senior officers may not want to admit it openly lest they get branded “communal” by Modi-baiters.

I understand the need for the community of retired senior officials to passionately hold on to their secular credentials. I need not tell this to you. You were at the receiving end once, you even wrote a blog titled “so be it” after you found yourself ostracized by your friends on Twitter. That episode was a rude shock for you and there should be no harm in admitting that not everyone can or even should take on the Anti-Modi mafia with their bare hands. By now you must have heard of the “wrestling with a pig” analogy. So I need not elaborate further.

But I am digressing here. The point is – all these ladies and gentlemen, very qualified and senior ex-bureaucrats and servicemen, became admirers of Narendra Modi not because of Hindutva but because they objectively, yes objectively, over a period of 5-10 years, looked at his developmental work and agreed that his administration was doing a good job. Let’s pin this point on the board for the moment.

Now, your second tweet suggests that all these learned men and women no more admire Narendra Modi because 44, ok 57 people who also happen to be his admirers, behave “obnoxiously” on the World Wide Web (www). Sir, are you telling us that some learned men & women, who rose through the ranks for their ability to make sound decisions, are beginning to dissociate themselves from Modi because 57 people on the behave on the web? Sir, let’s take that pin out, these people became admirers of Modi after observing Modi for 5-10 years. You joined twitter in 2011. Are you suggesting that bad behavior of 57 people over 1 year is enough reason for learned men like yourself to trash your own assessment made over a much much longer period? That doesn’t reflect the political acumen one would associate with people of your stature.

This reminds me of a story my grandfather once told me. There lived a guy in a village who, to put it politely, wasn’t known for his intelligence. There were a bunch of kids in the village who would be on his case 24×7. Obviously, that made him hate the kids. One day, on his way back from the neighboring village, he felt very thirsty, famished and tired. The mid summer blazing sun didn’t help matters. There was a lush green mango tree a few hundred feet ahead of him. He looked at the tree and rejoiced thinking the tree would provide him much needed nutrition and some shade. But his happiness suddenly turned to sorrow when he realized that the tree was frequented by the same kids he hated. He immediately developed a strong dislike for the mango tree. He said to himself, I will rest here under the blazing sun, I will forego the sweet mangoes on that tree, because that tree provides shade and play area for the kids who misbehave with me.

I really mean no disrespect but if your tweets portray reality, I really feel sorry for those from the community of retired senior officer who want to forego the shade and the mango because some online kids called you and/or them some uncharitable names.

Your tweets also remind me of my experience with a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena sympathizer during the 2009 Lok Sabha election campaigning. I was supporting ex-bureaucrat Mr. Arun Bhatia and the two of us, the MNS guy and me, got into an argument. The MNS sympathizer ended the conversation saying that he would not vote for Mr. Bhatia because I (that’s me) had been mean to him. Believe me, Mr. Bhatia wasn’t promising clean governance that would limited exclusively to his supporters. But the MNS sympathizer wasn’t wise enough to realize this.

I am sure you and the retired senior officials are very intelligent people, a little too intelligent to fall for such puerile cravings driven by personal equations with some folks on the world wide web.

You may not realize this but inadvertently you are also setting a rule here according to which a person becomes guilty of what his followers do. You and other retired senior officials would have to stick to this yardstick in every case in the future and I am sure you do not want to find yourselves in that position. For example, just verbal abuse on the Internet puts you off Narendra Modi. Would you use the same yardstick and say that brutal violence in the name of Muhammed has created second thoughts about Muhammed in your minds? If you don’t follow your own rule you run the risk of being called a hypocrite which I think is still the better option considering what could happen if you earnestly applied the same rule to evaluate Muhammed. A Russian radio host found that out the hard way recently.

Your tweets unfortunately don’t (ever) seem to do justice to your vast knowledge of politics. That is what makes me think that those tweets don’t actually represent the thinking of wise men like you. I wonder if you are trying to achieve something here with such provocative tweets. I am sure that it’s something that you think would benefit the nation. I mean, no one expects anything less than that from a person like you. With due consideration to your profession, it would be futile to even ask you the objective because I know you will not reveal it unless you wanted to.

However, as a recipient of your incessant barbs, I would like to request you to take a step back, and rethink your strategy. I am sure your intent is good, but good intent doesn’t necessarily deliver positive results, take the Jan Lok Pal bill for example. I have a strong feeling that your tactics on twitter might be having an effect that you were not hoping for. In my humble opinion, your psy-war against a particular group may be misfiring.

I would urge you to stop provoking people on the internet with your almost regular attempts to scare off Narendra Modi’s fans. They are not it in for the money, they are angry because …. need I explain why they are angry Sir. You’ve seen how the Sonia led NAC and it’s subsidiaries like cabinet, and satellites power centers like the PMO have conducted themselves over the past eight years. So, my humble request to you is to stop inciting the angry youth.

If you have something positive to say, please do say but hollow threats like approaching the election commission to ban BJP/Modi because some people on the world wide web called you names is really not going to scare anyone. In today’s age, Indians don’t fear the sarkari people as much as they used 20 years ago. Such threats may end up becoming butt of everyone’s jokes.

By all means, don’t criticize Sonia Gandhi. I know any disrespect towards Mrs Sonia Gandhi can really jeopardize one’s acceptability in the social circles of New Delhi. But a semblance of balance between how you treat Modi as against how you treat Mrs Gandhi would be much appreciated.

And finally, when you next meet your friends, please ask them to rest under the tree and enjoy the mangoes, it’s for them too. Don’t worry about the kids, they are in school.

With Sincere Regards,
A Humble Troll from NaMo Brigade

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